Thermostats are devices used to maintain the temperature in a certain place. They are usually mounted on the wall as control panels that let you adjust your heating and air conditioning system. There are also programmable thermostats which let you set the temperature and have the thermostat change it based on the time of the day. Amazing right? But that’s not yet the best kind of thermostat you can find in the market today.
With the advancement of technology, smart homes are becoming a trend with the use of smart home devices. Aside from the regular thermostats and the programmable ones, there are now smart thermostats that will enable you to control your home’s heating and cooling more conveniently from your phone, tablet, and other devices. If you’re interested to know more, here are the important things you should learn about smart thermostats.
What are Smart Thermostats and How Do They Work?
A smart thermostat is a new development which allows you to control your home’s temperature from your phone, tablet, and other devices. They are referred to as “smart” because they learn from your behaviors, allow you to control the temperature in your home remotely, adjust themselves based on ambient conditions like humidity, and show you energy consumption in real-time.
Smart thermostats commonly use three basic components. The first one plugs into your boiler and wirelessly communicate to the second component which is an in-home device that functions as the thermostat and main control. Its third component is an application that can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet. Through the app, the user will be able to control the system remotely, allowing them to adjust the heating level from any location.
There are also other smart thermostats that offer more features such as learning your schedule and detecting you when you’re on your way home.
Functions of Smart Thermostats
The main responsibility of smart thermostats is to maintain the temperature in your home just like what other regular thermostats do. But since they are smart devices, they are able to give you more than that. Here are some other functions that smart thermostats can offer.
Hot Water Control
Aside from controlling your home’s heater and air conditioner, there are also smart thermostats that you can use to control hot water through your phone or tablet. It is great for those who do not have double boilers which provide hot water instantly. However, not all models have this function and some might charge you extra for it.
Through the use of a smart thermostat app, you will be able to turn on the hot water in your home more conveniently even when you’re away. For example, if you’ve switched off the hot water at home because you were away for a few days, but you’d like a nice hot bath when you get back, you can simply turn it back on using your smart phone before you get home. With this function, you will never have to suffer a cold shower again because you forgot to put the hot water on.
Smart thermostats have the ability to learn your routine and your preferred temperatures. In fact, they can program themselves according to your preferences. This function will help you save time from having to program a schedule yourself. But if you do not like the schedule it has programmed, you can also turn this feature off and switch back to manual control to program it yourself.
Through the use of an app, some smart thermostats will allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of your home. This function is very useful especially for those who have larger homes.
For example, if you usually stay in your entertainment room in the evening to watch a movie, you can keep it nice and cozy while turning the heating down or off in the other rooms that are not in use. However, to be able to use this feature, you’ll need to buy extra thermostats for each area that you want to use different settings for.
Motion Sensors and GPS Tracking
There are smart thermostats that use motion sensors to detect whenever you leave and enter your home, and GPS tracking to set boundary lines around your home. This way, they will be able to adjust the heat settings accordingly. When you leave, they are able to turn the heating down, then pre-heating it again when they detect that you’re on your way back or near the boundary lines. This way, your home will have the right temperature once you get back.
There are also some smart thermostats that can alert you on your smartphone when you’ve left the heating on or when the temperature is set lower than you’d like when you’re coming back. However, they only inform you but won’t adjust the settings automatically.
The motion sensor and GPS tracking feature are best for people who are in and out of the house at irregular times.
Smart thermostats feature a weather-responsive function where they adjust the internal temperature automatically according to the weather forecast and temperature outside. If it’s cold outside or if it going to be sunny, the smart thermostat will adjust its temperature settings to reflect that the temperature will change.
Benefits of Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are best for people who have busy schedules. For example, if you left your thermostat on when you leave the house, it will be able to detect that no one is home, and will automatically turn off for you.
They can also help you save money, not in a direct way, but they will allow you to heat your home more efficiently, thus, helping you save money in the long run. Smart thermostats can also give you reports about your usage. You can use this information to understand your heating patterns. This way, you will be able to change your behavior to be more efficient and save money.
The best thing about smart thermostats is they are designed to make your life easier and to do the thinking for you. It provides you with both comfort and convenience.
Things to Consider in Smart Thermostats
If you plan on purchasing a smart thermostat, there are some factors to consider first such as your heating and cooling system, your internet connectivity, and the product’s feature. Before deciding on one smart thermostat to buy, here are some of the things you should look into for you to choose the best one and enjoy its functionality.
To know the best smart thermostat for you, the first thing you need to do is to find out the HVAC system you have. After that, decide whether you’d like a wireless thermostat or a hard-wired one. Whichever you choose, both are still needed to be connected to Wi-Fi to work and to be compatible with other devices.
Smart thermostats with hardwiring do not require any batteries and they are low-maintenance. However, your system’s wiring can affect your purchase because heating and cooling systems have slightly different wirings from one another.
Wireless smart thermostats, on the other hand, are powered using batteries. It is convenient in places that frequently loses power. However, this also means that you will have to check for corroded batteries and replace them on a regular basis.
Heating and Cooling Systems
The type of smart thermostat you should buy depends on the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) you have. It’s because there are some smart thermostats that are not compatible with solid fuel furnaces but can work with heat pumps. Therefore, you’ll have to know first if the smart thermostat you want is compatible with your HVAC system at home.
Having an internet connection at home is important if you want a smart thermostat. It’s because it is the system used for you to control the thermostat remotely from your phone and tablet. If you lose the network, you will have to adjust the thermostat manually.
Smart Home Systems
If you have a smart home hub like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can also link your smart thermostat to it if they are compatible.
These are important things to look into when purchasing a smart thermostat. When deciding on features, you should think first if that certain function it offers is essential. Here are some of the best features of smart thermostats you can consider.
- Touchscreen: Having a touchscreen smart thermostat will give you more hands-on control. But you have to make sure to keep them out of reach from children because they might play with it.
- Motion Sensitivity: This feature might help you save energy because when a smart thermostat has motion sensitivity, it will be able to detect if there is someone in the room and automatically adjusts to your preferred settings. There are some smart thermostats where this feature is included in the package.
- Geo-Fencing: This is the feature that can track when you’re away from home. It sets the boundary line around your home, therefore, when you leave, the thermostat will be notified and it will turn the dial down to a low temperature.
- Alerts: There are some smart thermostats that can alert you when your furnace filter needs to be changed or needs to be serviced. This might also be a useful feature.
- Thermostat App: This is a very important feature especially if you want to control your home’s temperature remotely. It will allow you to auto-schedule your thermostat easily.
The Best Smart Thermostats for Your Home
Where to Buy
Once you’ve decided that you really want to purchase a smart thermostat for your home and thought of the things to consider, then it’s time for you to know the available smart thermostats in the market today. Here are the best smart thermostats for your home.
Google’s Nest is designed to adapt the temperature of your home to your behavior. It takes seven days for it to record and learns your preferences, schedules, habits, and as well as household details like how long it takes for your home to heat up or cool down. Once it learns this information, it will then channel them into precise, automatic climate control.
This smart thermostat can also display your choice of local weather and time, temperature, and as well as an analog or digital clock. Aside from that it also offers features such as learning, alerts, and an easy-to-use app.
Google’s Nest also works with energy companies with Rush Hour Rewards program. It is a program where energy companies pay you to lower energy usage during Energy Rush Hours. Also, if you have Amazon Alexa at home, this smart thermostat is compatible with it, meaning, you will be able to control it using the verbal command.
The only downside of this smart thermostat is it does not have any wireless temperature sensors which help regulate temperature efficiently from room to room. If you have a large house, it might not work well for you because it may have a hard time keeping the temperature even in each room.
This smart thermostat offers wonderful features at a very affordable price. Plus, it has fantastic reviews on Amazon as well. One of the best features it offers is geo-fencing. When you’ve downloaded its application and it has recognized your heating and cooling schedule, it will be able to spontaneously adapt to your going out from home and returning back in. Just like the nest, it takes seven days for it to learn your routines at home.
Honeywell Lyric T5 is also compatible with smart home systems like Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and more, enabling you to mix and match home automation products. It is a state-of-the-art device that has an appeal of a modern, digital-inspired display with touchscreen capabilities.
Aside from geo-fencing, this smart thermostat also features alerts that will notify you if it’s time to change your furnace filter. It will also send you safety alerts to ensure you that your HVAC system is working well.
The downside of this smart thermostat based on reviews is its app sometimes malfunctions. But the overall performance of the thermostat is fantastic.
This smart thermostat is perfect for those who are comfort-oriented because it offers a lot of prestigious features for less such as a smooth design, a touchscreen, and a system that learns your habits and preferences to program your schedule.
Part of its wonderful design is its changing colors feature that Schneider calls Pulse, to signify if it’s cooling, heating, or using the energy efficiency setting. It changes colors between blue, yellow, and green.
Aside from the Pulse feature, it also has learning capabilities to memorize your preferences and to create an ideal climate for you while saving on energy. It has a user-friendly app that will help you easily adjust the temperature manually and monitor it as well both by using your smartphone. It can also control the humidity, preventing mold to grow and damage your home.
Schneider Electric’s Wiser Air is compatible with Amazon Alexa. It means that if you have Amazon Alexa at home, you will be able to change the temperature through voice command like saying, “Alexa, turn the temperature up by three degrees, thank you.”
The only downside of this smart thermostat is its software can have occasional glitches. But this does not happen often.
This smart thermostat is best for homes with many rooms. It’s because it features a wireless temperature sensor that monitors the temperature in a specific room. It means that if it gets too cold or too warm, it will take over the HVAC system to keep the temperature comfortable. It includes one wireless sensor but additional ones are also available for purchase.
Another good thing about the ecobee4 is it comes with a built-in Amazon Alexa. When you purchase it, it’s like you’re also purchasing a smart home hub that will allow you to connect other smart home devices and order groceries as well.
During cool summer evenings, this smart thermostat can pull in chilly air from outdoors rather than using the air conditioner which can help save energy. This feature will work if your heating and cooling system have a ventilator.
The only downside of this product is its Amazon Alexa programs have limited access to programs and software. But it has fantastic performance when keeping your home at your preferable temperature.
If you have the Apple HomeKit, then this smart thermostat will work great with it. It also comes with huge energy saving potential at a reasonable price. Sensi Smart is powered by batteries but it can also be hardwired, therefore, you can choose which is most suitable for your system and for your lifestyle as well.
This smart thermostat features auto-scheduling. You can auto-program it for each day of the week, tailoring the heating and cooling that will suit your weekly work schedule as well as agenda. Aside from that, it also features geo-fencing that allows it to sense when you’re with the virtual boundary so it can start warming or cooling your home. You just have to simply download its app.
It has a digital-inspired display that gives it a modern touch. The only downside of this smart thermostat is it does not give energy reports that help in tracking its effectiveness.
This smart thermostat is similar to Google’s Nest because it is able to adapt to its owner’s habits and behaviors and matches the temperature to your preference. It is able to do this by tracking its owner through an app on smartphones.
Tado° is also weather-responsive, taking into consideration the weather conditions to save on energy bills. Aside from that, it also has hot water control, allowing you to turn on the hot water at home more conveniently.
This smart thermostat can also give you estimated savings which are based on the number of hours you’d be heating your home without using it.
This smart thermostat does not simply adjust your temperature with little direct input from the user because it has the Hive Active Heating that is built around a dashboard. This will allow you to manage your home’s temperature using a smart device.
Its technology is created for people who find it uncomfortable to have automation devices that can collect their personal data. This is the reason why they allow users to manually design their own personal heating schedule and change their home’s temperature through their smart devices.
Also, if your home pipes are in danger of freezing because of cold temperatures, The Hive can automatically turn the heat on. It also features geolocation, hot water control, and weather forecasts. Plus, it can give you historical information on temperatures inside and outside of your home.
Learning about how smart thermostats work and what benefits they can give are important to make sure that it is the right solution for your home. Having a smart thermostat at home is a great way to make your life easier, especially for those who are busy and always on the go.
We hope the information we shared will help you find the best smart thermostat that will work perfectly in your home.